What are the Differences Between the Caribbean Islands and Turks and Caicos?

TCIbeach-300x199Geographically, the Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the Bahamian Island chain. But while TCI and the Bahamas may be “neighbors,” the two countries are quite distinct from each other. In fact, the Turks and Caicos Islands offer a number of significant benefits to visitors and investors that are not available on the Bahamas or other popular island destinations. Here are five big ways Turks and Caicos stands out from the rest of the Caribbean:

1. The climate is much more stable

Hurricanes are a part of life in much of the Caribbean. The northeast region, namely the Bahamas, is particularly vulnerable. In fact, many of the worst hurricanes to hit the Caribbean region through the years have been in the Bahamas. On average, a strong hurricane makes a direct hit on the Bahamas every four years.

On the other hand, it is extremely rare for a serious hurricane to strike Turks and Caicos. Historically, hurricanes hit TCI only once every nine years, on average. There are also fewer tropical storms and cyclones. Turks and Caicos doesn’t normally experience anywhere near as much “severe weather” as other Caribbean nations do.

TCI’s “normal” weather is anything but stormy or unpleasant. For the most part, you can expect year-round warm temperatures, with only mild fluctuations between the summer and winter seasons. Average temperatures hover in the 80s (Fahrenheit), but can dip into the 70s during the winter and can reach the 90s (or occasionally stretch into the 100s) during the summer months. There is little rainfall (which usually occurs during the summer) and the islands are not humid. On many days, there is a steady, cooling breeze, and the ocean water is usually “perfectly warm” and ideal for swimming.

2. Turks and Caicos is not nearly as crowded.

Turks and Caicos offers feelings of true exclusivity, privacy, peace and tranquility. That is precisely why  the islands are favored by so many celebrities as a vacation destination or as a location for second home. If you want a secluded beach where you hear nothing but the lapping waves, you can find it in Turks and Caicos. Even on the most developed island, Providenciales, you won’t find crowds. On average, Provo gets about 27,000 visitors per month during the high season, yet it never feels like it is overrun by tourists.

Of course, sometimes peace and quiet can mean lack of amenities. But that’s not true in Turks and Caicos. The islands offer some of the best dining and shopping opportunities in the Caribbean. Many of these necessities and niceties, including dining, grocery stores and retailers, are within walking distance of Provo’s premier resorts, hotels and vacation homes. If a balance of quiet and convenience is what you’re looking for, you will find it in Turks and Caicos.

3. The activities available in TCI are world-class.

If all you want to do in Turks and Caicos is lie on the beach, soak up the sun and relax, there are plenty of incredible beaches where you can do that. But if you want a more active vacation, there are endless recreational opportunities available on the islands—and we’re talking “world-class” activities.

Turks and Caicos has the third-largest barrier reef in the world and is renowned for being one of the top scuba diving and snorkeling locations on the planet. That’s not only for its abundance of coral reefs and marine life, but also for its legendary visibility. It’s no wonder that Turks and Caicos has been rated the best diving spot in the Caribbean by Scuba Diving Magazine.

But that’s not the only world-class activity in TCI. The islands are home to the largest above-ground cave system in the northeastern Caribbean, and a guided tour to see the caves is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. One of the highest-rated golf courses in the Caribbean, the Provo Golf and Country Club, is located in the Grace Bay Beach area of Providenciales. TCI boasts some of the best deep sea, bone, fly, sport and bottom fishing, not just in the Caribbean, but in the entire world.

There are also plenty of opportunities for water sports, such as jet skiing, kayaking, kiteboarding, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing, tubing, wakeboarding and water skiing. Of course, other Caribbean islands also offer these kind of water sports. But when you do them in Turks and Caicos, you’re doing them in some of the most pristine and phenomenal settings in the world—which makes these TCI water sports a world-class experience.

4. TCI is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean.

While not crime-free, Turks and Caicos has one of the lowest crime rates in all of the Caribbean. The crime that does occur is predominantly on the main populated island of Providenciales. The more sparsely populated islands of North and Middle Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay see very few crimes against tourists.

Of course, you should still exercise common sense when traveling in Turks and Caicos—lock your car doors, don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach, use the safe in your hotel room, etc.—but don’t be overly anxious or nervous about criminals. You can relax and sleep easily knowing this is one of the safest vacation destinations in all of the Caribbean.

5. Turks and Caicos is “visitor-friendly.”

It would be hard to imagine a more “visitor friendly” Caribbean destination than Turks and Caicos. That’s not to say you won’t get a warm welcome in other parts of the West Indies. This part of the world is known for its hospitality. However, the welcome you receive upon arrival in Turks and Caicos is likely to be nothing like you’ve ever experienced before. Whether you are interacting with a taxi driver at the airport, a waiter, a hotel clerk or a gift shop cashier, you will get a warm reception. TCI residents know how to roll out the “welcome mat” for visitors.

Turks and Caicos is “visitor friendly” in other ways too. TCI is a British Overseas Territory and the primary language spoken here is English, which makes it easy to communicate with local residents if you’re visiting from the UK or North America. The islands operate under the US Dollar, so if you’re from the United States, there’s no need for complicated currency exchanges. American and European tourists do not need to apply for a tourist visa in order to travel to Turks and Caicos, which is one less detail to have to worry about. [Note: If you plan to relocate to or work in Turks and Caicos, you may be required to apply for a work visa.] In addition, the country is situated in the Eastern Time Zone so, so if you’re traveling from North America, you will have very little, if any, jetlag.

These are all good reasons to take a trip to Turks and Caicos. So what are you waiting for? There’s no time like the present to start planning your vacation to Turks and Caicos. You deserve it!

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